Cover Story: Style

The darkness kept flickering on and off in the clouds, paralleling the outside lights of the Motel 6 we were staying at. The air was getting colder and colder, but the pool’s heating was still running, so neither Isaac nor I moved. I longed for the warmth of my sister and of the motel room, but his hand kept moving under the water, and I felt obligated to let him or I wouldn’t get my stuff tomorrow. I was downing the last of my margarita, even though it made me colder. Continue reading

Cover Story: Sex

Her skin was nearly black with tattoos. When she was younger, she had had long strings of birthmarks that ran around her neck, down her spine, and along the veins of her arms. She had dreamed forever of creamy, even skin that lingered along the edges of everyone else she knew. When the black was ready for her, she ran to it, welcoming the needle as a friend into her skin. The islands of red that had lined her before were no more (as was the relationship with her parents, but she had decided that her own comfort was more important than degenerating to close a generation gap). When she decided that she had no room left, she took the needle for herself, so she could impart the black onto others. Continue reading

Cover Story: Happy

For his entire life, he had had a periwinkle kind of skin. His mother told him the color had eaten it the night of a bad lightning storm, when he was barely a toddler. The storm shook and shook their small house, the rickety hinges on the doors clacking like there were skeletons walking down the hall. He had gotten so scared, hiding under the table in the corner, which his mother kept as a shrine to his father. He was small enough that he fit under the table, and that his mother couldn’t reach him. He shook so hard, like a demon or a thundercloud or a washing machine was possessing him. Continue reading

Cover Story: The Moon Song

The sky was an ugly shade of grey. There was a woman screaming in the distance somewhere, like someone had died or like she was dying or something inconvenient like that. The buildings had been burning for hours, and the soft blue lights from the wispy clouds continued to move gently over people panicking in the streets, calming their writhing motions and quickly dissipating the atoms of their flesh. The black-clothed, stoic figures continued to move down the streets of the falling city in lines, their metal guns in hand. Continue reading

Cover Story: Shades of Cool

They’ve been here before, almost every night for as long as they can remember. All of the clients have cleared out of the dark red, dimly-lit rooms, the final false smiles have faded from the girls’ faces, the bead curtains have fallen still at last and their incessant reverberations have receded. The main room is full of smoke, the old threadbare couches will suffice as mates for the night. None of the girls will want to re-enter the ominous closed rooms leading down the halls from the main room, though they know that once the clients dutifully file in the next morning, they’ll have to reclaim their discarded smiles before luring the willing clients back into the rooms. Continue reading